HQ MUSE // Hannah Buttigieg, Nutritionist – Food Intelligence

 

Our HQ Muses are people in the Holistic HQ community who are brave, creative, big-hearted and inspiring. They are ambassadors for what we strive to achieve – a thriving and joyful wellness community, supporting you on the path to good health, a sustainable lifestyle and spirited, happy wellbeing.

 

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We are so excited to introduce you to Hannah Buttigieg, our guest Nutritionist who will be joining our team at next month’s HQ Getaway (18th – 20th August 2017) at Amarant Retreat in the beautiful Yarra Valley.

Hannah has always had an avid passion for health and fitness, so it became a natural career progression for her to establish a business based on whole foods and promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Drawing on her skills of years working in the field of addictions, Hannah understands how difficult it can be to change habits and therefore brings a wealth of knowledge to her work as a behaviour change nutritionist, exploring ways to change old habits and form new, healthier habits.

It is Hannah’s aim as the owner of Food Intelligence to educate people about the benefits of eating the right foods and demonstrate that food can not only give you the body you want but make you feel amazing.

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You have a very unique approach to your work as a nutritionist, shaped by your long career in the field of addictions. How have your past experiences working as a drug and alcohol counsellor influenced your approach as a behaviour change nutritionist?

 

Working with people who experience alcohol and other drug (AOD) addictions, especially in the forensic sector, are hands down one of the most challenging client demographics there is. In our society, we are taught that a person is either well or unwell, an addict or recovered. However, through my work in this sector, I was on a continual learning curve that showed me that this is not the case at all, not even a little bit – addiction is incredibly complex and all shades of grey. It may have been out of self-preservation, or it may have been because I am ever the optimist and try to seek the best out of people, but I learned very early on in my career to celebrate the small wins.

What is important to me is most likely totally irrelevant to my client, because their circumstances and situation is totally different from mine. The most important thing I have taken from my work in AOD is to never be judgemental. Through this work, you are witness and privy to some very raw, often brutal and truly horrific things, and being able to detach yourself from the situation while still being empathetic is a skill that took me a very, very long time to master.  

Based on these experiences, I’ve built Food Intelligence on the following foundations – genuinely celebrating the small wins, because these accrue to the overall big win, and approaching each client from a place of empathy and non-judgement – it’s never our job to judge.

 

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What prompted you to start Food Intelligence as your own business? Was there an obvious gap for what you do that you could see in the market?

 

Food Intelligence came about when I was at a peak stress levels in a previous AOD job. I wasn’t looking after myself well, I was totally burnt out and not coping too well mentally. I enrolled in a Post Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition as a way to learn to look after myself better. During my studies, friends and family kept saying to me that I should start my own business because my unique skill-set from AOD married together with my interest and studies in nutrition perfectly. From there, Food Intelligence came to life!

Well I should say, the idea of it anyway. I was still working full time in the AOD sector and knew nothing about business so it took about 18 months of research and development before I launched the business in March 2016. And yes, I did notice a gap in the market regarding what I do. I found there was a plethora of options for people who needed acute treatment for eating disorders, however for the general population there was very little out there. That’s where I step in as your one-stop shop for achieving your health and wellness goals.

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You’ve travelled a lot, both locally and internationally! What have been your favourite places to visit, and what special food moments or rituals have stayed with you from your travels?

 

Travel is a part of me. I feel anxious and edgy if I don’t have at least several plane tickets booked, or know I can take off at the drop of a hat. Which is probably why doing the Monday to Friday 9-5 thing never worked well for me! In Australia, my favourite place that I’ve spent time (other than the Surf Coast) is the Kimberley in Western Australia.

I was fortunate enough to have worked in a rehabilitation clinic funded by an Aboriginal Corporation. During my time there I was taken to remote places that had pristine beaches, deserts and amazing oases without any people in sight, except maybe the traditional land owners.

Reflecting back on it, the food I ate during these trips was pretty incredible and totally illegal to eat if it wasn’t from an Indigenous person! We often feasted on sea turtle, dugong and stingray. On weekends I’d go mud crabbing and fishing with friends. It was like living in paradise and I very much miss that lifestyle.

With my travels overseas, I don’t think I could say one place has been my favourite. Every place I have been holds a special place in my heart and I’d love to go back to each one of them, except there are too many other places to explore!! My one food moment that stands out in my overseas adventures would be when I was 21 or 22 I was backpacking through Egypt. The girl I was travelling with and I were walking through a tiny town, I can’t even remember its name, when we were walking past a Mosque.

There was a group of women, all dressed in burkas, sitting down on the grass in the shade having a picnic. My eyes met with theirs and I smiled. They called us over and invited us to join their picnic. We could not speak a word of each other’s language, but we managed to ‘talk’ non stop throughout lunch. We feasted on tabbouleh, pita bread, hummus and falafels.

When I think of food and what it means to me this story is exactly that. Food is what brings people together, it breaks down barriers, it gives us common ground, it allows for mutual respect and a snap shot, however small, into other incredibly beautiful cultures.

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You grew up on the Surf Coast and Geelong. What does the area represent to you, and how has the coastal life influenced you as a person?

 

Its home! Its where I come to rest, to be with family, to be with friends who have known me for most of my life. Its where I recharge my batteries after travels. Its where I flop on my mum’s couch when I’m sick. It’s a little piece of paradise that makes up my entire world. Without daily walks on the beach, surfing and diving at every opportunity, road trips down the coast in search of waves or crayfish, I really have no idea who I’d be!

I guess it has also been a big influence on me being an environmentally conscious person, seeing the damage done to our oceans horrifies me and the fact that I can’t stand pollution makes me live my life in a certain way. For example, I make sure I’m energy conscious at home, I take my own bags to the supermarket, I try not to buy packaged food to minimise my waste, because I see the direct result of those choices every time I am in or near the ocean.

 

Who are your biggest influences when it comes to cooking in the kitchen? What are your favourite go-to recipes?

 

One of my biggest influences is Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef, to me she was well ahead of the whole health food movement and seeing her career grow has been hugely inspiring. I also love how she has stayed up to date with new nutrition research and includes that in her work. I have one of her cookbooks from over 10 years ago and all recipes call on artificial sweetner which makes me chuckle as these days she’s evolved to only use wholefoods. I just find it so inspiring watching someone grow like that as a person, a chef and an influencer.

 

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How has your approach towards self-care changed over the years? What are your favourite rituals for self-care now?

 

It has changed dramatically that’s for sure. In my late teens and early 20’s, self care consisted of partying hard two or three nights a week, working out as much as possible and calorie counting. I was a bit of a wild-child back in my heyday, but these days nothing pleases me more than a night in with a cup of tea and either a good book or a Netflix binge. I also prioritise sleep, if I don’t get enough I am not a nice person to be around, I’m grumpy and overeat which then makes me even more grumpy! Daily movement is also mandatory for my self care, whether it’s yoga, pilates or walking, I make sure I move daily.

 

What does your ideal day look like?

 

My ideal day is having a little sleep in and then heading to my favourite hot yoga studio for a 9:30am class, followed by brunch with the girls. Then depending on the mood of the ocean, I’d go for a dive, surf or fish. The best way to finish up the day would be with friends having a big cook-up for dinner. Even thinking about it makes me smile.

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As our guest nutritionist, what are you most looking forward to on your first HQ Getaway this August?

 

I’m so pumped for this retreat! From experience the main thing I’m looking forward to is getting to know the guests. The women who attend these types of retreats I find so inspiring. I think it takes so much courage to say to the world, “I’m dedicating a weekend to myself, and I’m going to disconnect from the world, and reconnect with myself”.

The exchange of energy and wisdom is something I am also really looking forward to as well. Exploring the Yarra Valley will be fun. It’s not somewhere I’ve spent a lot of time and I mean, how could it not be an incredible weekend when the backdrop is so gorgeous…?!  

 

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You are currently creating a really exciting addition to the Food Intelligence portfolio – a blog featuring all of your favourite nutrition and lifestyle tips. What kind of things can people expect, and (equally important!) – when will this be launched, and how can people sign up?

 

This is equally exciting as it is terrifying! It’s something I’ve been working on for a few years now and have never been brave enough to put it out there. I’m also in the process of launching a monthly Food Intelligence newsletter which will have recipes, blogs and other goodies.

At the moment I’m having some website work done so it’s best just to email me at info@foodintelligence.international and I’ll sign you up to the newsletter where you can easily access the blog. Once my website is all sorted there will be a sign-up page.

 

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What advice would you give your younger self in pursuing your dreams?

 

Don’t be so hard on yourself and take more breaks! I’m my own worst critic, which has certainly helped me at times to push myself, but has also seriously stressed me out unnecessarily at others. I’m also known to work to the point of burnout and only then will I take a break. This is something I’m working on and is most definitely still a work in progress!

 

Instagram: @food_intelligence

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/foodintelligence1/

Website: http://www.foodintelligence.international

 

 

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HHQ PRESENTS // PILATES + PAMPERING PLAYDATE

HHQ Presents | Pilates + Pampering Playdate | 22nd July 2017-4

SATURDAY 22ND JULY, 2-5PM
BREATHE WELLBEING, GOLDIE PLACE
MELBOURNE CBD

BOOK NOW

Holistic HQ is delighted to host this special gathering, guest-starring the wonderful Claire Toone, studio owner and head instructor at Noosa Flow, who will be leading an uplifting and nurturing afternoon filled with energising and restorative Pilates sequences, meditation and pampering – the ultimate girls’ day out!

Join us at a gorgeous urban oasis – Breathe Wellbeing Goldie Place, a beautiful studio hidden away down a laneway off Little Bourke Street, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. For three blissful hours, you will enjoy thoughtful sequencing, energetic flows and relaxing meditations; a gorgeous mini-spa pampering experience featuring products from our local partners Perfect Potion and Pressed Juices; and a goody bag filled with special treats to take home with you.

Tickets are only $50 early bird (until Sunday 16th July), or $55 last minute until the day of the event. (Breathe Wellbeing studio members receive a $10 discount).

Grab your girlfriends and book your tickets early for this special experience – only 18 spots available, so get in quick sticks to secure your place.

We would love to see you there!

BOOK NOW

YOUR INSTRUCTORS

CLAIRE TOONE, NOOSA FLOW

Claire has been practicing various styles of Pilates and Yoga for the past seven years. After a career in luxury goods sales and marketing, Claire changed direction to follow her passion for fitness and wellbeing.

Her mission is to empower people through moment and wellness so that they can live their lives with confidence, balance and energy.

Claire has taught clients from all walks of life utilising her powerful mix of Pilates, yoga, functional fitness, nutrition and coaching techniques. Her bespoke classes as well as her innately supportive nature have helped her clients achieve bodies, attitudes and lives they love. Claire’s teaching career has seen her instructing in London, Paris and Zermatt, before spending two years in New York City, where she worked for various boutique studios and private clients.

VICTORIA BROCKFIELD, HOLISTIC HQ

Victoria is a qualified Pilates Mat, Reformer, Barre and Boxing fitness instructor, Personal Trainer, Reiki Practitioner, Meditation Teacher, and the Director and Co-Founder of Holistic HQ.

Nine years ago Victoria completed her Pilates certification with the Australian Pilates Academy, as well as a studio apprenticeship with Matrix Pilates. She’s since completed her Certificate 4 in Fitness and Certificate in Pilates via Breathe Education, and is currently completing her Diploma in Clinical Pilates.

Victoria has trained and successfully competed as an INBA Sportsmodel, winning 2nd place at the Victorian championships in 2010, and has a big love for Pilates, Yoga, stand-up paddleboarding, and… mermaiding! She is a proud Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, and has a decade-long background in marketing, fundraising and events for some of Australia’s most loved charities and not-for-profits.

Victoria teaches at Breathe Wellbeing in Melbourne’s CBD, White Dog Studio in Footscray, and Armature Pilates in Brunswick, as well as private 1:1 and 2:1 Personal Training sessions throughout the week.

BOOK NOW

Best Moments at HQ in 2016

We’re nearing the end of our biggest year yet at Holistic HQ and we thought we would share our favorite retreat moments captured by our talented team of photographers.

 Join us in 2017 for even more retreats and workshops around Melbourne with our incredible community of coaches, teachers, photographers, chefs and of course, you guys!

ACT NOW FOR $100 OFF OUR JANUARY 2017 HQ GETAWAY PACKAGES IF YOU AND A FRIEND BOOK IN TOGETHER!

USE CODE: LOVE2017


HQ GETAWAY, JANUARY 2016

Our HQ Getaway Summer 2016 at Amarant Retreat was so incredibly special – three jam-packed days filled with Pilates, yoga, meditation, massage, vegetarian food, life, career and nutrition coaching, rainforest walks and so, so much more.

“I was ready for movement, relaxation and nice surroundings. I got all of that and more. I thought I’d be the “odd one out” in amongst a group of yogis and serious health nuts but I loved that I was an equal amongst a group of vibrant women all tackling big things in life and all very “real”. I laughed a lot more than I thought I would!” – Tresna

Photos by Annette Ruzicka Photography.


Are you drooling over these photos? Join us in January! Get in quick sticks before it sells out – visit HQ Getaway Summer 2017 for all the deets xx


 

HQ WORKSHOP, APRIL 2016

Our Autumn HQ Workshop was held at the beautiful Allpress Studios in Collingwood, and featured a day full of Pilates, yoga, meditation, DIY salt scrubs, flower crowns and nutrition/sustainable living talks.

“When I think about last Sunday’s workshop I just keep smiling and the one thing that captures it is : GOOD VIBES 🙂 I left that workshop better then I arrived to it…. Thank you… Can’t wait for another one :)” – Aiste

“The entire day was fantastic. From the moment I arrived I was surrounded by positive energy, great people and a day full of recharging my batteries. I loved it. Can’t wait for the next one.” – Rebecca

 

We’re so excited to let you in on a little secret — we are working on some special collaborations for 2017, meaning more workshops in more beautiful locations!

We can’t wait to announce these early in the new year… keep an eye on our social media for more xx

WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR WONDERFUL EVENT PARTNERS – WE LOVE YOU!

Sarah Churcher Photography | Lululemon Athletica | The Aromatic Salt Company | Matcha Maiden | Intent Mind | Stacey Leanne Massage | Annette Ruzicka Photography | Clean Slate Skin Care | Pomp and Splendour | MiGoals | Allpress Studios | Amarant Retreat

FINDING YOUR BLISS IN THE YARRA VALLEY – THE HQ GETAWAY RETREAT DIARIES

HQ Getaway July 2015

Rainforest walks. Beautiful vegetarian meals. Roaring fireplaces. Pilates, yoga, massage + meditation. Life-changing conversations. Seriously – it doesn’t get much better than this.

DAY ONE // An hour’s drive outside of Melbourne can quickly feel like you’ve been whisked a million miles away. After a short pitstop in Healesville, dropping in at the Healesville Organic Farmers Markets and the very lovely Harvest Cafe, we arrived at our home for the weekend – the beautiful Amarant Retreat, set in the lush temperate rainforests of the Yarra Valley.

The three-level building, nestled into the hills amidst dewy ferns, towering gums and mossy rocks, provided the ultimate haven from the chilly Winter mists (it also happened to be the coldest weekend on record this Winter!). Our hearts and bodies were warmed the moment we stepped inside – toasty warm fireplaces, orange and lemongrass essential oils burning, and heated floorboards greeted our frozen feet.

After settling in, we got cozy by the fireplace and set our intentions for the weekend under the guidance of Alice of Intent Mind, and got to know our little company of bliss-seekers. Friends firmed up fast as we completed our first Pilates class and a sunset bushwalk, and were cemented around the beautiful vegetarian dinner provided by our master Chef, Laura.

We completed our first day with a Yin Yoga session in the Celestial Room, and start to wind down peacefully with some guided meditation, before finally curling up in our cozy rooms upstairs and letting the blissful feelings settle in.

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DAY TWO // The melodic sounds of the Tibetan singing bowl awakens those who haven’t already risen early for morning meditation and yoga downstairs. A truly lush breakfast is served up – Sunday porridge cooked with fresh dates, oats, cinnamon, lemon peel, almond milk and coconut cream. Topped with pecans, local berries, flax oil and vanilla bean honey, we have to just about stop ourselves from licking the bowl.

After a vigorous Pilates session with Victoria, we break off to start our sessions – full body Swedish relaxation massage with Stacey, or one-on-one life coaching with Alice. Those waiting their turn enjoy a leisurely afternoon of creating vision boards, flicking through pages of inspiration to find the images that resonate with their heartfelt dreams.

Dinner in the evening is a hearty winter forest mushroom risotto, served with walnut and green leaf salad and truffle oil. The dessert blows minds – chocolate avocado mousse topped with fresh local berries, cacao nibs and maple syrup.

We roll into the yoga room for a restful and restorative Yin Yoga session, resting our legs against the wall in a supported shoulder stand and feeling the worries of the world float away. In the quiet cocoon of darkness, by the flicker of candlelight, we finish our session with a collective resounding OM, sharing an unspoken connection that will live on well beyond these three days.

DAY THREE // We rise early before the sun and wander down to the Celestial Room, where we gather our bolsters and blankets, and sit peacefully in lotus pose, finding our breath and stillness in the moment. Gently, we are guided through a morning meditation, awakening to the senses of our body and mind before opening our eyes to a brand new day.

Laura has already been busily cooking in the kitchen, and has prepared us yet another delicious breakfast. The recipe cards in our goody bags come in use for the Bliss Ball making demonstration led by Abby, who shows us how to make decadent chocolate orange bliss balls from scratch. As the girls squeeze in their final massage and coaching sessions, we take in the cool mountain air on the verandah and thank our lucky stars for finding this truly special place. It feels like home.

The dates for our next HQ Getaway are already booked in at Amarant Retreat! If you’d like to join us for our next HQ Getaway (Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd January 2017), please drop us an email at hello@holistichq.com.au or visit our HQ GETAWAY info page for all the details xx 

With love,

V & A xx

HQ MUSE // Laura Sides, Holistic HQ Chef

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Our HQ Getaway Chef, the super-talented Miss Laura Sides, trained as an apprentice at the Andalusian-inspired Añada in Fitzroy, and has worked in some of Melbourne’s top restaurants as part of the front of house management team: Lucy Liu and Taxi Dining Room in the CBD, and La Luna in Carlton. Laura’s passion for cooking was something that developed almost by accident.

“My mum wouldn’t let me cook because I’d make a terrible mess. I didn’t really grow up with an interest in food at all. When I moved out of home I started playing around with food, and I found that I really enjoyed cooking and people seemed to really enjoy eating it! Moving to Melbourne [from England] and working with food is where my passion was really cemented.

I arrived in Melbourne with just a backpack and not knowing a single soul. All I knew was that I wanted to work with food and wine and this seemed like the best place in the world to do that.

I unwittingly managed to secure a job in a very prestigious restaurant within 12 hrs of arriving off the plane. When I googled the restaurant later that evening, I saw it had just won Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year. I was absolutely petrified, but I turned up for day one and things rolled from there.

I later moved to Taxi Dining Room, where I started as a food runner and finished four and a half years later as part of the management team. During that time I also studied and qualified as a chef. I had the privilege of working my apprenticeship at Anada Restaurant in Fitzroy, where I would do all the food prep from 7am until mid afternoon, then race down to Taxi and work on the restaurant floor. It was an absolutely crazy time.

I then went back into management and have recently finished eighteen wonderful months as part of the opening team at Lucy Liu. I have never been hugely drawn to the confines of a restaurant kitchen, I crave creativity and being able to do my own thing. I have always known I would come back to food in the right way, and here I am!

 

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1. What is your most memorable meal? Why does it hold such a firm place in your memory?

My favourite meal as a child was kedgeree, which is smoked haddock and spiced rice. Coming from Norwich in Northern England, you’re not really exposed to exotic foods, and I remember thinking, ‘… this is exciting’. Mum made it for us every Christmas Eve. I had it every year from four years old until I was twenty-five.

2. What was the hardest thing about your apprenticeship?

The combination of studying, going into class, doing the contact hours in a kitchen and working as a section waiter was pretty difficult to juggle. I would often leave Taxi Dining Room at 1am, needing to be back in the kitchen at 7am then back to Taxi for 4pm, it took its’ toll!

I also struggled with the Patisseries semester. I’m not one to follow a recipe and with patisserie cooking you really have to be diligent. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth and struggle to cook anything I don’t really want to eat.

3. You’ve worked as the face of some of Melbourne’s top restaurants. How does working on the floor compare to working behind the kitchen?

I love the theatre of working on a restaurant floor, I love the intensity and high pressured environment of service. I love that you really never know who may walk through the door and having the joy of meeting such a broad range of people who all turn up for the same reason – the love of food.

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4. What’s your favourite dish to prepare when you have friends over?

I so enjoy cooking at other people’s houses – it’s like the ‘mystery box’ on Masterchef, you open the fridge and cupboards and just make something. My favourite dish to cook is my version of steamed ginger and spring onion chicken. It’s one of my favourite dishes in Melbourne, originating from Ling Nam in Chinatown.

5. What do you do to eat healthy?

I never, ever eat anything out of the packet. It doesn’t excite me and it doesn’t involve any sort of interaction with the food. So I think that’s a good start. I have also become very aware of the power of water over the past couple of years and try to drink sh*$t loads of the stuff.

6. Who do you look up to in the industry? Why do you love what they’re doing?

The reason I started on this journey, across the world from Norwich to Melbourne was Rick Stein. I’d been through a big upheaval back home, and was ready for a change. I didn’t know where to go first until I saw Rick Stein cook a suckling pig in Ubud, and then realized that’s exactly where I wanted to go. So that’s where I went, and that’s what I ate, and that’s why I’m here now. I love how rustic and simple his food is.

7. If you could cook anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

If I could cook anywhere and for anyone, it would probably be for my Mum and Dad. I never got the chance to cook for them together, so perhaps that’s a step back in time rather than a specific location.

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8. What are you looking forward to on our HQ Getaway in January?

I’m looking forward to the challenge of cooking for so many en masse, and I’m looking forward to using all the gadgets in the retreat kitchen which i don’t have at home but wish i did (ie. Thermomix!!!!!!).

I’m also looking forward to being in a beautiful space with like-minded ladies, away from the rat-race of day to day life.

9. You currently do Crossfit – why does it appeal to you?

I love Crossfit, because I know if I go 3 times a week I can pretty much get away with anything for the rest of the week! I like feeling strong and pushing myself to my absolute maximum capacity (which I simply couldn’t do on my own).

I love turning up with anxious anticipation of the workout ahead, then working out like a crazy person in a hot and sweaty industrial box, high fiving someone and going home being barely able to walk.

10. What do you dream of in 2016?

Channelling all things things I love and have learnt into the career I have always wanted x

Love, HQ // top 5 last-minute gift ideas

Hi lovelies!

Are you still umm-ing and ahh-ing over what to give your special ones this festive season? If you want to give them the gift of beautiful memories, a focused mindset, a rested and fit body, or simply peace of mind, we’ve got you covered! Read on below for some awesome ideas, delivered with love from our HQ team.

Wishing you much peace this festive season,

Vic + Abs xx

 

11BRING THE MASSAGE TO THEM

Our wonderful masseuse Stacey provides deeply nourishing relaxation and remedial massages at her home in Brunswick, Melbourne and also offers mobile massage across the inner city suburbs. She’s available for evening and weekend appointments, and can even do pregnancy massage as well as lymphatic drainage.

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Her aim is to provide affordable and accessible massages so that feeling balanced, relaxed, taking care of pesky niggles or managing acute injuries is easy.

Stacey has some totally gorgeous gift e-vouchers available, if you’d like to buy one in the lead up to Christmas for a loved one or maybe as a treat for yourself, vouchers are only $45 for an hour treatment if purchased in December.

For more info, contact Stacey directly at stacey@holistichq.com.au x

 

2LET THEM GET AWAY

Is your beloved dreaming of a little getaway…?

Our next HQ Getaway is coming up in early 2016 (Jan 30-Feb 1), and offers a beautiful way for them to start their new year. Located in the Yarra Valley, surrounded by lush green forest, Amarant Retreat is an eco-friendly sanctuary for reflection and immersion.

We’ll help the gorgeous women in your life to start their 2016 refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated, as they reflect on their goals and get clear on their intentions for the year ahead.

After 3 days and 2 nights of healthy food, smoothies, fresh air, yoga, pilates, meditation, rainforest walks, uplifting and supportive female company, nature, sleep, exploring your dreams and taking time to ‘be’, they’ll feel reconnected with how they truly want to feel, everyday.

HQ Getaway July 2015

We still have a limited number of spots available on the retreat for you or a loved one – perfect for spoiling your best friend, your wife or girlfriend with the best possible start to their 2016!

We can provide a beautiful gift pack for you to present to them on Christmas Day or even New Years Eve. You can download our retreat e-brochure with all the details here: HQ Getaway – Summer 2016 Booklet

Want more deets? Visit the website at https://holistichq.com.au/hq-getaway/ or drop us a line at hello@holistichq.com.au with any questions you may have! xx

 

3 SHAKE UP THEIR CAREER

If you’ve got someone you know that is like “DAAY-UMM…. dying right now. This year has felt like water torture and I cannot wait to jailbreak from work already!” — well, this is just the thing they might be looking for.

Give them a 1.5 hour “Career shake up” strategy session with our girl Alice from Intent Mind, tied up in a pretty red bow. They’ll walk away breathing easier, having a rock solid handle on the choices they have early on in 2016 for a fulfilling year of work, and a 90 day plan to take meaningful action on.

If this sounds like a present you want to give to someone (or yourself even), drop her an email at alice@intentmind.com.au.

She’s even got a festive price for people who purchase before 23rd December and will send you a printable gift certificate to skip postage delays.

 

42KICK SOME FITNESS GOALS

Maybe they’re feeling ‘meh’ about their health, have a nuisance injury that’s limiting their exercise routine, or are just ready to get their 2016 started with a new challenge – let’s shake things up for them!

Our fitness guru Victoria can come to the rescue with some private PT sessions at the gym, park, beach or at your home across the inner city suburbs of Melbourne. Consults include a fitness assessment, goal setting and nutrition advice via our resident nutritionist Abby.

Gift e-vouchers are available for one, three or five sessions, and are charged at only $50 per 1-hour session. For more info, contact Victoria at victoria@holistichq.com.au xx

 

5 GIVE THEM TIME

Our last suggestion is a freebie, for both you and them! Life is so precious, and every moment that you spend fully immersed in the company of your loves will form your most treasured memories in years to come.

Why not pledge to give them the gift of your time in 2016? We’ve created this free downloadable voucher for you to print and cheekily include under the tree this year.

The Gift of Time

We think they’ll love this one the most. xx

 

Finding your Bliss in the Yarra Valley – The HQ Getaway Retreat Diaries

HQ Getaway July 2015Rainforest walks. Beautiful vegetarian meals. Roaring fireplaces. Pilates, yoga, massage + meditation. Life-changing conversations. Seriously – it doesn’t get much better than this.

DAY ONE // An hour’s drive outside of Melbourne can quickly feel like you’ve been whisked a million miles away. After a short pitstop in Healesville, dropping in at the Healesville Organic Farmers Markets and the very lovely Harvest Cafe, we arrived at our home for the weekend – the beautiful Amarant Retreat, set in the lush temperate rainforests of the Yarra Valley. 

The three-level building, nestled into the hills amidst dewy ferns, towering gums and mossy rocks, provided the ultimate haven from the chilly Winter mists (it also happened to be the coldest weekend on record this Winter!). Our hearts and bodies were warmed the moment we stepped inside – toasty warm fireplaces, orange and lemongrass essential oils burning, and heated floorboards greeted our frozen feet.

After settling in, we got cozy by the fireplace and set our intentions for the weekend under the guidance of Alice of Intent Mind, and got to know our little company of bliss-seekers. Friends firmed up fast as we completed our first Pilates class and a sunset bushwalk, and were cemented around the beautiful vegetarian dinner provided by our master Chef, Laura.

We completed our first day with a Yin Yoga session in the Celestial Room, and start to wind down peacefully with some guided meditation, before finally curling up in our cozy rooms upstairs and letting the blissful feelings settle in.

Porridge

DAY TWO // The melodic sounds of the Tibetan singing bowl awakens those who haven’t already risen early for morning meditation and yoga downstairs. A truly lush breakfast is served up – Sunday porridge cooked with fresh dates, oats, cinnamon, lemon peel, almond milk and coconut cream. Topped with pecans, local berries, flax oil and vanilla bean honey, we have to just about stop ourselves from licking the bowl.

After a vigorous Pilates session with Victoria, we break off to start our sessions – full body Swedish relaxation massage with Stacey, or one-on-one life coaching with Alice. Those waiting their turn enjoy a leisurely afternoon of creating vision boards, flicking through pages of inspiration to find the images that resonate with their heartfelt dreams.

Dinner in the evening is a hearty winter forest mushroom risotto, served with walnut and green leaf salad and truffle oil. The dessert blows minds – chocolate avocado mousse topped with fresh local berries, cacao nibs and maple syrup. We roll into the yoga room for a restful and restorative Yin Yoga session, resting our legs against the wall in a supported shoulder stand and feeling the worries of the world float away. In the quiet cocoon of darkness, by the flicker of candlelight, we finish our session with a collective resounding OM, sharing an unspoken connection that will live on well beyond these three days.

DAY THREE // We rise early before the sun and wander down to the Celestial Room, where we gather our bolsters and blankets, and sit peacefully in lotus pose, finding our breath and stillness in the moment. Gently, we are guided through a morning meditation, awakening to the senses of our body and mind before opening our eyes to a brand new day.

Laura has already been busily cooking in the kitchen, and has prepared us yet another delicious breakfast. The recipe cards in our goody bags come in use for the Bliss Ball making demonstration led by Abby, who shows us how to make decadent chocolate orange bliss balls from scratch. As the girls squeeze in their final massage and coaching sessions, we take in the cool mountain air on the verandah and thank our lucky stars for finding this truly special place. It feels like home.

The dates for our next HQ Getaway are already booked in at Amarant Retreat! If you’d like to join us for our next HQ Getaway (Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd January 2017), please drop us an email at hello@holistichq.com.au and more details will hit your inbox ASAP xx 

With love,

Victoria and Abby signature

Kamalaya Spa Resort | Koh Samui, Thailand

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DAY ONE // We arrived last night after a heavy boat ride across the waves from the tiny island of Koh Tao, feeling rather salty and windswept. Kamalaya Spa Resort is a truly beautiful sight to behold, the treetop villas scattered amidst a heady tropical rainforest that winds down the hill towards the sea. Kamalaya is renowned as an award-winning wellness retreat and health sanctuary, a mecca for the rich, famous and those just wanting to hit ‘refresh’ on their current lifestyle.

The reception area is vast, and you could be forgiven for feeling like you’ve walked onto the set of Jurassic Park. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the thatched roof, stone floors and high wooden frame, and the lush surrounding gardens with buddhas and stone elephants sitting resplendent amongst the ferns. We are given a tonic drink on arrival, vivid green with a sprig of mint – you can tell it’s good for you just by looking at it. Clive, the resort manager, warmly greets us as we check in, and the reception staff show us to our room nestled up on the hill. Everything is taken care of; the special treatment has already begun.

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Having chosen one of the more modest suites, it is comfortably cosy and sweetly laid out, with an incredible view out across the palm-swept bay. The mini-bar is stocked with sesame seed treats, herbal teas and designer waters – notably lacking in beer and spirits. A bowl of mangosteens and fresh limes sit by the bed, waiting to be eaten after a long session in the Yoga Pavilion.

We stand by the window and drink in the gorgeous scenery below. The water is beautifully calm off shore, as a small reef breaks the surf 300m from the beach. Later that evening, we lie in the soft white sheets of our bed and look out across the water through the sheer mosquito netting. It’s not just the humidity that catches your breath.

 

DAY TWO // Our second day at Kamalaya is peaceful and pleasant as we physically start to slow down a little. At 7.30am, I tiptoe past my sleepy husband to take my very first Tai Chi class, which proves to be far more physical and certainly more enjoyable than I imagine. The waves softly lap the beach below as our hands sweep through the air, transitioning gracefully to the next movement.

After class, I finally manage to drag my man out of bed, and we enjoy a gorgeous vegetarian breakfast banquet overlooking the bay at the restaurant. I choose to make my own bircher muesli with goat’s milk yogurt, oats, almond milk, fresh seasonal fruit and raw honey.

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We follow that with a session at the naturopath, who puts us through a rigorous assessment. She happily concludes that we are both in great shape and youthful for our respective ages, but stresses that as enter the next stage of our lives – fast-paced careers, children, mortgages and general busy-ness – we will need to take greater care to manage the current balance we maintain. We heed her message, and count our lucky stars to be in such good health now.

After a gym session in the functional fitness centre, we make our way down to the crystalline white sand beach, where we lay on sundeck chairs and the staff bring us icy cups of water under our umbrella. Whilst my man takes off for a long run along the beach, I sit back and enjoy the morning sunlight dancing across my skin as I read my book.

Lunch is equally leisurely; we wander back past the extravagant stonework and underwater caves to a private thatched pavilion by the pools, and feast on super-fresh prawn Pad Thai and a lighter version of a spice-laden chicken panang curry. The juice I choose is delicious, aptly named the Kamalaya Detox Juice: freshly extracted coconut water, ripe pineapple and Thai basil.

We enjoy the luxury of a long nap after lunch, and wake up with minutes to spare to sprint across to our evening stretch class. The sun dips behind the horizon as we sit in lotus pose, hands relaxed by our hearts, humming a resounding AUM in sync with the class. I decide to try the detox option at dinner, a nourishing green vegetable soup seasoned with kaffir lime, galangal and lemongrass. Afterwards we lie on the bed back in our room, drinking in the stillness, and enjoy the sounds of the crickets and the waves coming through the window.

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DAY THREE // Our third day at the resort is sweetly pleasant and unhurried. I wake up early, prepare a small cup of sweet lime tea and eat a sesame seed bar before heading to a flow yoga class. The Thai teacher, Siri, is patient and instructive with her students as we transition from one pose to the next, and although I’ve felt on the verge of a cold the past few days (what some might argue is the effect on a body that is slowing down after a period of stress) I am feeling wonderfully warm and physically revived following the class.

I try out the buckwheat pancakes at breakfast, which are utterly delicious with homemade pineapple, strawberry and blueberry jams, as well as a cheeky dollop of warm whipped butter. At times I felt a tad rude sitting there eating non-detox food at a health retreat, but I have come to a little realization the past few days as I looked around at all the California hippies, London rockstars and heavyweight executives: I’ve underestimated how much I’ve already achieved a sense of balance in my own life. I can happily consider myself a healthy individual at a healthy weight and disposition. So, what am I doing here?

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Don’t get me wrong. I’ve noticed I now fit a little better in my shorts since being here, and I certainly feel far more relaxed and energised than I did on arrival. But I’ve always yearned to sign up to one of these detox/yoga/spiritual retreats and emerge feeling sparkling and wonderful. The irony is, I’ve learnt that so much of this is already in reach — that I’m already capable of feeling sparkling and wonderful, all the time.

Revelation? Maybe. In any case, I am quietly happy lying here on the sunloungers, lapping up the last bit of sun we will get before returning to the chilly Autumn air in Melbourne.

Kamalaya Spa Resort
102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang
Koh Samui, Suratthani 84140 Thailand
http://www.kamalaya.com 

Note from Victoria: I wrote this several years ago, after a visit to Thailand and my very first (and long-anticipated) visit to a health retreat at Kamalaya. I adore this place and would absolutely love to go back – so much so, that I was inspired to start creating my own retreats, recreating the good habits that were developed at Kamalaya. Wellness retreats are a wonderful way to reboot your life and get back on track, physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Should a spa resort in Thailand feel a little out of your reach right now, we encourage you to sign up to our newsletter and find out about our next HQ Getaway Retreat, to be held in the Yarra Valley early next year. More information will be up on the blog shortly…! V xx